Saturday, September 27, 2008

Booie comes home

Breaking the rules
Booie is so stoic. When I took off the bandage on her foot, she did not complain. The tape pulled on her skin and she let me do it with hardly any resistence. Maybe she was just glad to have it off.

Her signature mrt is gone for now and all that's left is a faint coo like a dove makes. It sounds pretty pathetic. Used to be when I would surprise her by touching her she would mrt loudly. Now, it's just a soft mrtle.

The crate did not work out. I put her in it when we got home and she howled and paced. She was still wobbly from the meds. I let her out and figured she could walk around if I could keep an eye on her. I put a step in front of our bed (which is low to begin with), that she ignored and jumped right up. She then konked out on the floor but then woke up and jumped on the couch before I could stop her.

When I headed out to Target a few hours later, I picked her sleepy self up and put her gently into the cage. She went berserk, sticking her paws out as far as she could, climbing up the sides, stretching out and pushing on the top of the crate. That was no good. So, I let her out and she ran under the bed.

I guess I can assume she won't do what hurts, although I worry that the pain meds hide the pain and she will do internal damage while she's on them. I thought she was asleep under a chair this evening and I heard a noise in the kitchen. She had jumped up on the radiator to look out the window. She loves sitting in that window, so no wonder, but I really didn't think she'd go for that yet.

She's asleep now, so it's probably time to attempt to administer the anti-inflammatory meds. It's a liquid and I have had baaaad luck giving her anything orally in the past.

Friday, September 26, 2008

When instinct is all you have

It seems strange to be home and not have Booie here. She's spending the night at the vet's while she recuperates from the surgery she had this morning.

I wound up taking her to a different vet -- Dr. Mammas in Bayonne. I probably would have been fine with the vet we had in JC, despite the slight feeling we had that that office was a bit too impersonal. And it bugged me that every time I needed to get results from them, I was told to call and ask for my vet by name and then the person answering the phone would take down all my info every time and then the vet would call me back when she could. Since she's away from the phone for so much of the day, wouldn't it just be easier for her to call everyone up who needs calling, without making them call and leave messages first?

The Bayonne vet office called me today to tell me Booie's surgery had gone fine and that I could come and see her this evening if I wanted to. I couldn't leave work early enough to do that, but I do appreciate the offer. I pick her up at 11am tomorrow.

What really cinched it for me as far as knowing this vet was the right one was last weekend when I posted a message on FreeCycle about wanting to borrow a large dog crate to put my cat in while she recovers from surgery. I receive a response from a woman named Silvia who said she is the manager at the Bayonne clinic and I could borrow one they have. I wrote back and said how weird, because I was going to be in the following day for an appointment. She said it must be fate and I have to agree.

When I brought Booie in that evening Silvia chatted with me while I filled out the paperwork. And when I took Booie into the exam room, she came, too. She was hugging Booie and whispering in her ears that she was going to be fine. Silvia told the vet assistant she was taking care of this one and she held Booie while the vet examined her.

The clinic is not nearly as pristine looking as the ones in JC and Hoboken run by Dr. Tudor. It has a much homier feel to it. The door to the exam room was open the entire time we were in it and people walked through to say hi and check on things. When I came back this morning to drop her off for the surgery, two Pugs were behind the counter with the two women working there.

The best news I got was from the vet this morning. I asked him if he'd be around tomorrow to fill me in on how to take care of Booie during her recovery. I said, "For example, do I really need to keep her in the crate for 2 weeks?" He said, "What? No! One or two days at most." I said, "Because if it hurts her to jump on things, she won't do it?" He said, "Of course." Catie was right about that. Even with walnut-sized brains, they aren't THAT dumb (cats, not Catie).

And yes, it's true, they're not that dumb. The last two times I took her to the vet, I tricked her by throwing a towel over her and grabbing her that way. She really despises being picked up, so grabbing her was always a chore. Well, not so much the grabbing as the getting her into the bag without her clawing whatever is in reach (usually my belly). Couple that with the fact that for the past few years, when she realizes she's about to be put in The Bag, she pees.

This morning I was supposed to drop her off at 8:30, but at 8, as soon as she saw me walking toward her with a towel, she ran and hid under the bed for 20 minutes. I took off my work clothes since I knew the towel was a lost cause. When she did eventually come out of the bedroom and I grabbed her, I scooped her up and flipped her on her back and somehow the pee managed to shoot over my arm and onto the kitchen floor.

I can't wait to see that furball tomorrow. I hope she's not in too much pain and doesn't think I did this to her just to be cruel.

Friday, September 19, 2008


The good news is that Booie's cancer appears, based on the tests the vet ran, to not have spread. The bad news is that regardless the surgery will cost 2 grand.

I called a vet in Bayonne who said they would charge around $800 and a vet in Hoboken who said they would charge around a thousand. But those are really just estimates, since they haven't seen Booie or the tests.

The vet we have seems really competent and caring and she answered all my questions last night at 6:30 pm. Yet at the same time, I felt as if she were giving a sales pitch. She explained that a team of 3 will work on the patient and they do an EKG, etc. etc.

She also said this cancer will kill her eventually, although in rare cases they are able to cure cats of cancer, if it's caught early enough. I guess she wants to prepare me for the worst so that she is not blamed when Booie dies anyway before too long.

And then she mentioned off handedly that the patient will need to be prevented from jumping on anything for 2 weeks. So, that is what I laid in bed until after 2am last night worrying about. Maybe we take apart our bed and put the mattress on the floor and keep her in the bedroom! And build a ramp up to the radiatior! So that she can look outside! Yes, it's brilliant!

No, no it's not. The best option is probably a large dog crate. Oh my god, the howling is going to be horrible. And then can we take her out for supervised rambles around the apartment? Or will she hide under the bed that we unwisely did not take apart?

There are no other rooms in our aparment that can be closed off besides the bedroom and the bathroom and the bathroom has 2 built in things to jump onto/into, so that's a no go.

Now maybe I figure out a way to put the crate on top of a table that is positioned in front of a window so that she can at least look outside. Maybe that will keep the howling down a little bit.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Freshly chopped tomato and a little lemon

I'm on the Caltrain on my way back to San Francisco from San Jose, where I spent a lovely afternoon with Catie. It's a double-decker train. If I lived where there were double-decker trains, I don't think I'd ever take them for granted.

I have a new book to start (Niccolo Rising). At the beginning are several pages of characters and looking at that made starting the novel seem way too daunting right now. I feel headachy, which I think is due to treating a mild hangover with caffeine instead of water because I woke up feeling fine.

Sometimes the jostling of a train can cause my iPod volume to turn all the way up. Dave Brubeck at higest volume definitely did not help the situation.

This morning on my way to San Jose I was marveling at how I'm now friends with this wonderful person (Catie) who I haven't known well for all that long (maybe 2 years). We've known each other peripherally for at least 7 years.

It is certainly not strange to become better friends with someone, except that for 5 of those years neither of us gave the other much thought (there may even have been some slight dislike by both parties). And then circumstances changed and now I consider her a close friend. At this point, I can't imagine not having Catie in my life.

I marvel at the reverse, too. How quickly circumstances can change and bad blood can congeal. It makes me feel weary to contemplate.

I'm just thankful that my relationship with Jeff is excluded from these trials. Any ebbing and waning I'm going through is that much easier to weather with him around.

I just can't believe I gave up an opportunity to go with him to Iceland is all.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fabulous food, fabulous friends

Catie and Andy took us to such a wonderful restaurant last night. Jeff and I keep saying things like, "remember how great that food was?" and "why can't we have places like Bar Crudo at home?"

It was raw fish but not Japanese. Most everything comes on small plates, perfect for sharing with fellow fish lovers. My fave was the lobster and heirloom salad. And the extra amazing thing was that they have an extensive beer list.

The waitress was extra attentive and patient and adorable to boot. She saw me taking a photo on our way out and asked, "are you Yelping me?" Catie had mentioned that Yelp is big out here. Otherwise I would not have had any idea what she was talking about.

I told her the photos were just for me, but if I do Yelp the restaurant (I guess that's the right terminology), I'll give it a great review because it was a wonderful experience and she was great, too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Booie update

There's not much to update. On Wednesday, the vet called and gave me the report on Booie's pathology. She said it is not certain but probable that she has mammary cancer. She said it's definitely fatal and she has three to six months if we do nothing.

If it's not certain, how is it definite?

The next step was to get bloodwork and x-rays. After that glowing fatality report, I couldn't do any more work anyway, so I went home, collected Booie, and took her back to the vet.

While we waited in the exam room for the vet, Booie stopped howling if I petted her constantly. The vet and the tech took her away from me for the bloodwork and x-rays. She was howling. The receptionist suggested I take a walk for 20 minutes. This was a good idea. No way I could have sat there for 20 minutes listening to her howl.

The vet showed me the x-rays when I got back. She pointed out that she could not see any white dots, which usually indicate cancer. The x-rays would still be sent off to the radiologist for more exact results.

Yesterday I spoke to the vet about the bloodwork results. She said her bloodwork "looks good" although I'm not sure what that means. Does she not actually have cancer? Or for a dying cancer patient, her bloodwork isn't that bad? The bloodwork indicated possible lymph node cancer, the vet said.

Next steps: The vet gets a FLIV test added on to the tests that were already done. Why, I don't know. And I call her on Monday to find out what the radiologist had to say.

Booie seems absolutely fine. It doesn't seem to hurt her when I touch the lump. But she's not wild about having her belly touched in the first place, so I can't tell if she's moving away when I touch it because it's uncomfortable or because she's just ornery.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fatty lump

I am a bad cat owner. I noticed a lump under Booie's armpit maybe two months ago. There were Saturdays when we could have gone to the vet, but we would forget and go do other things. Then I realized it had grown a bit. And so this morning, first thing, we took her to the vet.

"Oh, that's not good," the vet said, as soon as she felt the lump. Probably mammary cancer, she said. But maybe a benign cyst, she added, probably because tears sprung to my eyes and I said pitifully, "Ohhhh Booie..."

The vet then whisked Booie off to a back room to biopsy the lump. We find out on Wednesday or Thursday what plagues her.

The vet also said Booie's fur looks slightly matted. I know already that letting up on the grooming is a bad sign, but I do not believe she has let up on the grooming. She said because she sees 2 dozen cats a day she knows cats. But she has never met Booie.